Meeting with USS Responsible Investment Team

We had an interesting and informative meeting on Jan 16th and the plan is that we should meet again during the early summer. These are the agreed actions:

USS will:

1 Review the presentation of risks of ethical investments in newsletters and on the website

2 Send examples of the survey questions used when seeking members’ views to Ethics for USS along with draft future questions for comment

3. USS to consider how views on responsible investing from deferred and retired members could be heard.

4. Organise a meeting between Ethics for USS, Simon Pilcher, Chief Executive of Investment Management and Naomi Clark, Head of Investment Product Management on how plans for investment strategy are developing in relation to the Climate Emergency

5. Consider appearing at a discussion about responsible investing with a wider group of USS members.

Ethics for USS will:

1 Discuss with ShareAction the proposed meeting in 5 above

2 Comment on survey questions sent to them and respond to other requests from USS on the presentation of information on the website

About this campaign

USS – the pension scheme for university staff in the UK – is one of the largest pension schemes in Europe. Currently (Jan 2020) they hold over £ 1 000 million in fossil fuels companies, £ 400 million in tobacco and £ 200 million in arms manufacturers. Ethics for USS is a group of USS members committed to reform USS and ensure an investment strategy that protects the planet, respects human rights, invests responsibly and ensures good pensions. Ethics for USS works closely with student groups including People and Planet and also with Share Action. Blog posts reflect the views of Ethics for USS members and not any organisation employing them. Contact Ethics for USS at

UK Academic Institutions that have already divested

The team at People and Planet have led a fantastic campaign to persuade UK Universities to divest their own funds from fossil fuels. This list is taken from

If these institutions can divest surely USS can do the same ??

Academic Institutions that have divested or are in the process of divesting from fossil fuels: Glasgow, SOAS, Queen Margaret, Warwick, University of the Arts, Surrey, Oxford Brookes, Sheffield, Queen Mary London, Nottingham Trent, Kent, Wales Trinity St Davids, Abertay Dundee, Worcester, Bournemouth, Manchester Met, St Andrews, Kings College London, Edinburgh, Durham, Bristol, Cardiff, Nottingham, Bath, Gloucestershire, Loughborough, Keele, Stirling, Swansea, Goldsmiths Liverpool, Ulster, York, University College London

Academic Institutions that have declared they won’t invest in fossil fuels: University of Bedfordshire, Canterbury Christchurch, Newman, Chester, University of the Creative Arts, Cumbria, Winchester, Wrexham Glyndwr, Writtle University College, York St John, East Anglia, Buckinghamshire New, Northumbria, Leeds Trinity, Sheffield Hallam, Huddersfield, Sussex

Academic Institutions that have divested from coal and tar sands: Wolfson College Oxford, Birmingham City, Cranfield, Heriot Watt, Portsmouth, Westminster, DeMontfort, LSE, Southampton, Newcastle, Gloucestershire, Aston, Greenwich, Exeter

A brief summary of USS investments in fossil fuels, tobacco and arms manufacturers

Fossil fuels: Royal Dutch Shell £ 538 million; Lundin Petroleum £ 120 million; Pioneer Natural Resources £ 102 million; Equinor £ 93 million, Petroleo Brasilero £ 73 million. Tobacco: British American Tobacco £ 103 million; Imperial Brands £ 85 million. Military hardware: Raytheon £ 209 million